Sunday, 31 May 2009

First loads

This year for the first time in many years we saw the back of the silage pit. A combination of appalling weather last summer, and National Grid's latest easement cutting a swathe through our meadows, meant forage was tight this winter. But all that is behind us now. James mowed till midnight last night, starting again at 5 am. Everything is now cut and wilting.The contractor's here and has already picked up the grass from the Teapot Field and Crow. Henry's whizzing round rowing up to keep ahead and James is buck-raking. We have several helpers carting and the pit is filling up fast. The forecast is good and we're optimistic of a good crop.

And finally, many thanks to Victoria, Glenn, Elliot and Fletcher, who came for a holiday, but are now farmers in training.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

First Cut

If you've been looking at our Weather Site, you'll have seen the steadily improving weather. The sun is still shining, the ground has dried up and hopefully the grass is bursting with sugars. James started mowing after milking last night and the first four fields are now cut. He's continuing today and, if all goes to plan, we will start picking up tonight.

And finally - after eleven months inside, we moved the garden furniture back onto the patio and cooked and sat outside, until after the sun had gone down last night.

Summer has arrived

Sunday, 24 May 2009

At Last!


Well done Annabella 114!
A heifer calf last night.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Monday, 18 May 2009

Imbalance of the sexes

Since last Wednesday -

9 bull calves
1 heifer calf (twinned with a bull so a non-breeder)

Who said it would get better?

Saturday, 16 May 2009


Latest results from calvings at Strickley

Wednesday - 3 bulls
Thursday - 1 bull
Friday - 1 bull and twins (bull & heifer!)

Things can only get better.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Forty Years On

After a gap of forty years Strickley is growing oats. We've had the seed for a while now - all we've been waiting for is the right weather. After a spell of dry weather when we got some grass seeds in we had a couple of weeks when it seemed to rain almost every day. At last the clouds have cleared and for the past couple of days it's been dry, but very windy . But we've got the ploughing disced and levelled and instead of broadcasting the seed ourselves (who knows where the wind would blow it) have called in a contractor to drill it in. I haven't managed to take any photographs, but be assured, it's a more up to date setup than the one in this picture.

Even with a precision drill it's not guaranteed that every seed will germinate and grow - we would hope for more than 25% success rate - but maybe it will be -

One for the Row
One for the Crow
One to Rot
And One to Grow

And if you want to join in with growing these seeds, then click here and sing along!

We won't be combining these oats - but they are being undersown with grass as I write this Blog, and will go for forage later in the year. Forty years ago the oats were combined and bagged for use on the farm - do you recognise anyone in this photo? Take note of the trendy hand-crocheted headband.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Two out of Two

The second Brown Swiss has just calved a heifer! I think this one is called Kedar Jolt Terz, and the one last week was Kedar Special Tinke.

There's two more to calve and more Swiss names to learn.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

If only the weather would cooperate. . .

Tomorrow we're the final destination for "Teasdales Tours 2009" - an semi-informal tour of Shorthorn herds, taking in a different area of the country each year. We had hoped for a warm dry day - to show off the stock to it's best advantage, and to make the barbecue lunch less of an endurance test. But it seems the best we can hope for is dry and windy, with heavy showers. So, forewarned is forearmed, and Henry and James have cleaned out two large pens in the "new" building across the yard. If it gets really cold we can always pull down the Galebreaker roller blinds. The barbecue is dusted off (and tested, with James' mid morning bacon sandwich), chairs dragged out of storage (just need to wipe off a bit of bird muck), and food and drink in hand. It's "Meats and salads, buns and cakes" - with local meat from Cranstons and cakes from Wellbank. Michelle is a far better cake maker than me (and much keener!), so I'm sticking to salads and marinades. James has just come back from our neighbours with some conventional hay bales, so we can put them in the feed trailer as seats and take the tour round all the stock. I've been told not to go overboard with quantities, but I tend to over rather than under-cater. We could be eating up for a day or two.

Meanwhile - if you're at Newark Show on Saturday, look out for James judging the Dairy Shorthorns